The Thanksgiving feast has come and gone and now it’s time to settle into the next holiday ~ Christmas!

One of the first things I think the week after Thanksgiving is what will I do for Christmas cards – photo card, newsletter, online created card, Hallmark?

It took some “brainstorming with abandon” to come up with a card that could be duplicated and sent to everyone. Sir Henry Cole, a London Museum director, asked his art friend John Horsely to create something. Horsely lithographed and hand-colored 1,000 copies of this, the first Christmas card. The elite embraced this new tradition-often creating cards with extravagant landscapes filled with birds and flowers.

First Christmas card 1843

First Christmas card in 1843

In 1875 Louis Prang brought this great new commercial endeavor to America. With improved and efficient printing methods, the cards became popular with the masses. Again, the cards were not always done in a religious or Christmas theme, but often included holly, snow and other images of a winter holiday. By 1881, almost 5 million cards were printed.

Today, with electronic options open to us, Christmas card sales have declined. However, 2 billion Christmas cards are being sent each year in America. I account for about 100 of those cards.

I love thinking about, planning and executing our family’s Christmas card. One of the disciplines of sending Christmas cards that I enjoy is keeping up with a directory of snail mail contact with family and friends. We are a mobile society and addresses change as nieces and nephews marry, move from apartment to home, others downsize and get a new address after decades at the same one. I feel some kind of special satisfaction on keeping track of all those changes.

Here are a couple of websites that I love for creating cards/correspondence:  Zazzle and Vistaprint

Would love to hear from you about YOUR Christmas card tradition and any of your favorite “finds” for creating cards?  Better yet, share a picture of your Christmas card this year!